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Union County Voters Can Track Their Vote-by-Mail Ballots Online

Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi reminds voters who are using a Vote-by-Mail ballot that they can monitor the status of their ballots online, by using the free “Track My Ballot” portal provided by the Division of Elections in the New Jersey Department of State.

“The Track My Ballot portal provides voters with transparency and clarity regarding the Vote-by-Mail process, and we encourage all Vote-by-Mail users to sign up for this free service,” said Ms. Rajoppi.

Voters can access the Track My Ballot portal by following the “Track My Ballot” link on the County Clerk’s elections website, unioncountyvotes.com.

The Track My Ballot portal enables Vote-by-Mail users to see if their ballot has been received and accepted. Voters can access the system at any time on a 24/7 basis.

When the Vote-by-Mail ballot is received by the Board of Elections, Track My Ballot will indicate “received.” On or shortly after Election Day, Track My Ballot will indicate if the ballot was accepted.

In case of a rejected ballot, the voter is provided with an opportunity to cure their ballot. They will receive a letter from the Board of Elections with instructions on how to proceed.

Vote-by-Mail users are reminded that the counting of both Vote-by-Mail and in-person ballots will begin after the polls close on Tuesday, June 7.

For more information about the County Clerk’s election services visit unioncountyvotes.com or contact the Elections Division at 908-527-4996 or ucvote@ucnj.org.

For more information about all County Clerk programs and services, visit online at ucnj.org/county-clerk or call 908-527-4787.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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Reminder: Union County Clerk Offers Saturday Hours for Voters to Request a Vote-by-Mail Ballot in Person

Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi reminds voters that the County Clerk’s Elections Offices in Elizabeth and Westfield will be open for extended hours this Saturday, June 4 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., for anyone seeking to obtain a Vote-By-Mail ballot for the 2022 Primary Election. The extended hours are offered on a walk-in basis. No appointment is needed.

The Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, June 7.

“Voters who apply for a Vote-by-Mail ballot in person at the Elections Offices in Elizabeth or Westfield can fill out their ballot and cast it in a secure lock box at the site,” said Ms. Rajoppi. “This ‘One-Stop’ service is a convenient and user-friendly way to ensure your voice is heard on Election Day.”

Voters using the One-Stop service must provide a New Jersey driver’s license or New Jersey identification card with their photo, name, address and signature if they wish to leave their ballot with staff at the Elections offices, as required by state law.

Voters have until Monday, June 6 at 3:00 p.m. to obtain a Vote-by-Ballot in person at the County Clerk’s offices.

The Elizabeth office is located in the Union County Courthouse at 2 Broad Street in midtown Elizabeth. To access the Elections Office during special Saturday Vote-by-Mail hours, voters must use the rear entrance of the Courthouse on Elizabethtown Plaza. The Election Office is located in Room 113.

The Westfield office is located in the Colleen Frasier Building at the Union County complex, at 300 North Avenue East in Westfield. Street and lot parking are available, and mass transit is nearby.

For more information about the County Clerk’s election services visit unioncountyvotes.com or contact the Elections Division at 908-527-4996 or ucvote@ucnj.org.

For more information about all County Clerk programs and services, visit online at ucnj.org/county-clerk or call 908-527-4787.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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Union County Celebrates Pride Month 2022 with Art, Dancing, Theatre & More

The Union County Board of County Commissioners invites all residents and visitors to join in the celebration of Pride Month 2022, with community activities scheduled all throughout the month of June.

“This year our Pride Month calendar includes a mix of activities from just plain fun to cultural enrichment, education, networking and awareness-raising,” said Chair Rebecca Williams. “We hope everyone can join with us in celebrating our LGBTQ community and renewing our commitment to equal rights and equal justice.”

“We are proud to celebrate our Union County community as one that honors diversity, equality, and respect for the dignity of every person, during Pride Month and throughout the year,” said Commissioner Alexander Mirabella, who is the Board’s liaison to the Office of LGBTQ Affairs.

Sponsored by the Union County Board of County Commissioners and organized through the Office of LGBTQ Affairs, this month-long series of events includes:

Union County Pride Flag Raising

Wednesday, June 1st at 1PM – 2PM

Union County Courthouse (2 Broad St, Elizabeth)

Live streamed on the County Facebook

LGBTQ: Say It Gallery Exhibit

Friday, June 3rd from 6PM – 10PM opening night

Atelier Rosal, 74 East Cherry Street, Rahway

Presented in partnership with the City of Rahway

SAGE Table Community Lunch

An intergenerational lunch to share stories and connect our community

Sunday, June 12th from Noon – 3PM

Plainfield Performing Arts Center, 724 Park Ave, Plainfield

Presented in partnership with the City of Plainfield and SAGE

Registration Required: Register Online

LGBTQ+ Trivia Night

Thursday, June 16th from 6PM – 9PM

Please note the change of date

The Tavern at Ash Brook, 1210 Raritan Road, Scotch Plains

Registration Required: Register Online

Union County Pride in the Park, Plainfield – GRAND OPENING OF NEW INCLUSIVE PARK SPACE

Saturday, June 18th from 12PM – 4PM

Tëmike Park in Cedar Brook Park (Plainfield)

Queer Empowerment Hour: We Say Gay, the impact of anti-LGBTQ+ state laws and patchwork legal protections across the country

Monday, June 20th at 7PM

Virtual discussion

Registration Required: Register Online

LGBTQ+ Professionals Mixer

Date changed to Thursday, July 28th 6pm to 9pm

The Watt, 1403 Irving Street, Rahway

Presented in partnership with the Rahway SID

Registration Required: Register Online

Love is Love Celebrating National Coming Out Day Youth Dance (Ages 13+)

Date changed to Friday, October 7th 24 6PM – 8PM

Warinanco Sports Center, Roselle/Elizabeth

Registration Required (student ID required at check in)

NOTICE: all participating students will need to be dropped off and picked up by legal guardian, with consent form.

Registration Required: Register Online

Head Over Heels the musical

Thursday, June 30th at 7PM

Union County Performing Arts Center, 1601 Irving St, Rahway

General Admission – Free Tickets Available by reservation: Call the Box Office at 732-499-8226 or visit ucpac.org to reserve.

Presented in partnership with the City of Rahway and Rahway Social Justice Commission

Union County’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs was established in 2018 under the Department of Economic Development. It is the first county government office of its kind in the State of New Jersey. It offers a platform for leadership and collaboration to support equality, and serves as a catalyst for advocacy, awareness and action on current and emerging issues that impact the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals.

For Pride Month schedule updates and more information about the Office of LGBTQ Affairs, visit ucnj.org/LGBTQ.

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A Memorial Day Message

By Rebecca L. Williams

Chair, Union County Board of County Commissioners

May 26, 2022

As Memorial Day approaches, our thoughts turn to those in our Union County community who made the ultimate sacrifice, and gave their lives in the service of our country.

Each year, the Commissioner Board honors their memory by distributing thousands of American flags to veterans’ groups and civic organizations. Together, we visit cemeteries across Union County to ensure that every veteran’s grave is recognized with a flag.

When we walk these sacred grounds, we are reminded that our safety, our security, and above all, our freedom, is a foundation built at great cost through generations of American history.

In death, those who served in the Armed Forces have left an eternal message for all of us, and for the world beyond.

They define us as one people, one country, one guiding principle to light the way.

Ours is the light of democracy.

Ours is the will to meet the future as a nation of respect for human dignity. 

And, ours is the obligation to carry forth the promise of so many brave service members, so many lives cut short, to preserve and protect our beloved country as a beacon of hope for the human spirit.

Those who have fallen have passed on to us a precious duty.

They have tasked us to carry out the cause for which they died, to continue our own journey in pursuit of equal justice and equal rights.

We, the living, can honor their memory on Memorial Day and all days, year in and year out, by striving for a better tomorrow, a stronger community, and a nation that embodies and transcends the vision of our founders.

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For information about services for veterans, active duty military and military families in Union County, please visit the Union County Office of Veterans Affairs at ucnj.org/uc-hero, email the Office Coordinator at W.Geoff.Smith@ucnj.org, or call during office hours, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday except holidays.

To reach the 24/7 VA Crisis Hotline call 1-800-273-8255 (24/7), or use the online chat at veteranscrisisline.net.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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Enjoy Union County Parks, the Zero Waste Way

Visitors to Union County parks this summer can give their outdoor gatherings a zero waste makeover by using washable or recyclable picnic gear including plates, cups, utensils and tablecloths.

“Cutting down on single-use paper or plastic items in our parks is a simple way to help the environment while enjoying the outdoors with friends and family,” said Union County Commissioner Chair Rebecca L. Williams.

“Zero waste” generally refers to sturdy, reusable items that can be washed or recycled, instead of being disposed in landfills or incinerators.

First-timers can take a step-by-step approach to organizing zero waste meals, starting with a few items before moving on to others.

  1. Inexpensive, reusable plates, cups and utensils are widely available for recreational camping and other outdoor uses. They come in a variety of patterns and shatterproof materials including bamboo and stainless steel (plain or enameled) as well as melamine and other durable plastics.
  2. Reusable food containers can substitute for disposable plastic or foil food wrappings. Other reusable options include washable beeswax wraps and silicone pouches.
  3. Washable cloth table covers or sturdy reusable plastic table covers can substitute for flimsy single-use plastic tablecloths.

Reusable options are also widely available for napkins, towels, table decorations and other items.

Union County residents can stay up to date with their local and countywide recycling programs by downloading the free Recycle Coach app.

For more information about Recycle Coach and all county-run recycling programs, visit the Union County Bureau of Recycling and Planning at ucnj.org/recycle.

More information about the Union County parks system is available at ucnj.org/parks.

Quick links to all environmental programs and activities hosted by Union County are available at ucnj.org/green-connection.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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Come to the Free “Native Plant Swap and Shop,” June 9

 

Union County residents can come to the free “Native Plant Swap and Shop” event on Thursday evening, June 9, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and trade harmful, invasive plants from their yard for up to three colorful native varieties that attract butterflies and other pollinators, free of charge. More native plants will also be available for purchase at the event.

The Native Plant Swap and Shop is hosted by the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation. Pre-registration is required online at ucnj.org/plant-swap.

“The Swap and Shop is a fun way to start introducing beneficial native plants into your yard and garden. It has been a big hit with gardeners in our community, and we are delighted to bring it back this year,” said Union County Commission Chair Rebecca L. Williams.

The Swap and Shop will take place at the Scout Camping Area in the Watchung Reservation, located below the Trailside Nature and Science Center at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside. Ample free parking is available on site.

Admission to the event is free. Attendees can arrive any time after 5:30 and stay as long as they like. Expert naturalists will be on site to provide guidance and information on gardening with native plants.

Attendees can bring any number of invasive plants from their yards to swap for up to three native flowering plants including swamp milkweed, blue wood aster, creeping phlox, narrow leaf sunflower, tall white beardtongue and cardinal flower.

Examples of invasive plants to bring are: Japanese barberry, pachysandra, butterfly bush, garlic mustard, porcelain berry, periwinkle, English ivy and Chinese silvergrass. The invasive plants should be dug up with roots included, and brought to the event in a sealed box or bag.

Residents are also welcome to attend Swap and Shop to purchase native plants. It is not necessary to bring invasive plants from home in order to make a purchase. Toadshade Wildflower Farm will be on site with a variety of native plants for sale. Preordering for pickup is advised, online at toadshade.com.

For more guidance on gardening with native plants, download the free “Plant This, Not That” guide.

For more information about Union County parks visit online at ucnj.org/parks, email parksinfo@ucnj.org, or call 908-527-4900.

Quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities are available at The Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connection/.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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Learn the Secrets of Successful Grant-Seeking, June 7

Free, virtual workshop hosted by Union County for non-profits.

The Union County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to invite non-profit organizations to attend Successful Grant-Seeking, a free professional development workshop on Tuesday, June 7 from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM. The event is hosted and coordinated by the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs.

“This workshop is one of the opportunities the County of Union provides for non-profits and civic organizations to achieve their full potential. Their success benefits all Union County residents by strengthening our artistic and cultural quality of life,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams.

Organizations that have received funding through Union County’s Local Arts, History, and HEART grant programs are especially encouraged to attend the workshop. Other non-profit organizations based in New Jersey are also welcome.

Registration is required to access the Zoom link. Please click here to register.

Participants will receive guidance and insights about the grant-making landscape in New Jersey including the different types of funders, how to research funder organizations and identify which grants to apply for, and what funders currently look for and focus on.

The Successful Grant-Seeking workshop will be led by a panel of seasoned experts in the field of grant-making in New Jersey, who will provide resources, actionable steps and practical tips for real-world success in receiving funding:

Theresa Jacks, Acting President and CEO of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, has been instrumental in strengthening CNJG’s leadership work, building relationships with partners, and guiding policy and advocacy efforts.

Linda Czipo is President and CEO of the New Jersey Center for Nonprofits, New Jersey’s statewide network and champion for the charitable community. The Center strengthens nonprofits individually and as a community through public policy, professional education and guidance, trainings, conferences and cost-saving services.

Leigh Clark, the Business & Funding Information Librarian at the New Jersey State Library’s Information Center, assists nonprofits in using the free resources available through the State Library to find funding and grow their organizations.

Annmarie Puleio is Executive Director of The Fred C. Rummel Foundation, a private foundation supporting non-profit organizations throughout New Jersey. Her extensive work on grant-funded programs has spanned both the grant-making and grant-seeking sectors.

Successful Grant-Seeking is funded in part by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information, please contact the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, a division of the Department of Parks and Recreation, at culturalinfo@ucnj.org or 908-558-2550, or visit online at ucnj.org/cultural.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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Shred and Recycle Your Personal Documents

Union County residents can bring their personal documents and sensitive papers to the next free paper shredding events sponsored by the Union County Board of County Commissioners during the month of June.

“The free shredding service makes it easy and convenient for Union County residents to dispose of sensitive documents while also supporting our countywide recycling efforts, and we encourage everyone to participate in our 2022 recycling programs,” said Commissioner Board Chair Rebecca Williams.

Each shredding event begins at 9:00 a.m. and concludes at 1:00 p.m., rain or shine, but may finish earlier if the shredding trucks fill up to capacity.

The locations for June are:

  • Wednesday, June 1: Clark Public Works Facility (behind the Police Station), 315 Westfield Avenue, Clark
  • Saturday, June 11: Union County College, Parking Lots 5A and 5B, 1033 Springfield Avenue, Cranford
  • Saturday, June 25: Union County Vo-Tech, West Hall/Police Academy Parking Lot, 1776 Raritan Road, Scotch Plains

Participants are reminded pre-shredded, damp, or wet paper will not be accepted. Bindings, large plastic or metal clips, and other paraphernalia should be removed.

These events are drive-up only and contact-free. Drivers must remain in their cars while staff unloads their papers, which are shredded on site in a mobile shredding truck.

Union County’s free shedding events are intended for personal, sensitive documents only. Residents can recycle magazines, junk mail and other waste paper with their municipal recycling program. For information, contact the municipal recycling coordinator.

For the complete 2022 paper shredding schedule and information on all recycling programs hosted by Union County, visit ucnj.org/recycle or call the Union County Recycling Hotline at 908-654-9889.

For the latest news and updates on all municipal and countywide recycling programs in Union County, download the free Recycle Coach app. More information is available at ucnj.org/recycling/recycle-coach-app.

Quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities are available at ucnj.org/green-connection.

The mobile paper shredding program is paid for through Recycling Enhancement Act Grant funds, which are applied for by Union County and received from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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Free Scrap Metal Recycling for Union County Residents, June 2 and 18

Union County residents with old metal gutters, fencing, or appliances to dispose can bring these items and more to free scrap metal recycling drop-off sites in June. The scrap metal recycling program is sponsored by the Union County Board of County Commissioners and takes place twice each month from April to November.

“This countywide program helps to fill a service gap in some Union County municipalities that currently have no outlet for scrap metal recycling,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Rebecca Williams. “As a community, we benefit across the board by recycling more and throwing away less waste – and we also stand to gain some revenue from the program.”

Acceptable items for recycling include air conditioners, aluminum scrap, aluminum siding, bicycles, brass, copper, dishwashers, electric fans, fencing (chain/wire), freezers, gutters, irons, lawn furniture, metal cabinets, metal sheds, microwaves, pots and pans, railings, refrigerators, stoves, tire rims, toasters, washers and dryers, window frames (no glass), wire hangers and more.

Scrap metal drop-off will be accepted Thursday, June 2 and Saturday, June 18 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at two free drop-off centers:

  • Cranford:  Emergency Services Building, 151 Kenilworth Boulevard
  • Rahway: Rahway River Park (follow Park Drive, Rahway off St. Georges Avenue to service yard across from swimming pool)

Scrap metal from residents in any Union County municipality may be brought to either of these sites.

The next scrap metal events will take place on Thursday, July 7 and Saturday, July 16.

Please note that Union County’s scrap metal recycling events are drive-up only, and contact-free.

Participants must remain in their vehicles at all times.  Materials should be placed in trunk, cargo area or truck bed and be easily accessible for staff to remove.

For more information, upcoming dates and directions to all Union County recycling programs and locations, visit the Bureau of Recycling and Planning website at ucnj.org/recycle or call the Union County Recycling Hotline at 908-654-9889.

To receive schedule alerts, and to stay up to date with Union County and local recycling programs, download the free Recycle Coach mobile app.

Quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities are available at The Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connection.

For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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Union County’s Free Rhythm & Blues by the Brook Outdoor Music Festival Returns to Plainfield, June 4

Union County residents are invited to kick off the summer season with Rhythm & Blues by the Brook, a full afternoon of free music and activities at Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield on Saturday, June 4 from noon to 6:00 p.m.

“We are delighted to bring Rhythm & Blues by the Brook back to Union County this year,” said Union County Commissioner Chair Rebecca Williams. “Cedar Brook Park is the perfect place to kick off our annual summer series of free music events, movies, and more for everyone to enjoy.”

This year, Rhythm & Blues by the Brook will be headlined by Rose Royce, the hit-making ensemble that has dazzled audiences around the world with five platinum and eight gold records to their credit.

Also sharing the bill are crowd-pleasers Freddie Jackson, Candyman, Rob Base and Alexis Morrast, with Union County’s favorite record spinner, DJ Bookeem serving as Master of Ceremonies.

As always, Rhythm and Blues by the Brook will feature a food court, a marketplace and a spectacular car and motorcycle show presented by G-Wiz Auto Entertainment throughout the event.

A fun-filled afternoon of activities for children, including a petting zoo, pony rides and more, will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

New this year is a health and wellness fair sponsored by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.- Eta Omicron Zeta Chapter of Plainfield, from noon to 3:00 p.m.

For schedule details and updates visit ucrandb.org.

For more information about all activities in Union County Parks, visit the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation online ucnj.org/parks, call 908-527-4900 or email parksinfo@ucnj.org.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

Connect with Union County on social media.